Peyton Still ‘On Your Side’: 5 Questions with Nationwide’s Rick Jackson

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Nationwide - Peyton Manning

For the millions and millions of fans who loved seeing Peyton Manning bite into a sandwich while mumbling the tune to the Nationwide Insurance jingle last year, rest assured that the brand has not forgotten about you.

Nationwide is back with a new “Jingle” spot starring the Denver Broncos quarterback that will debut tonight during the NFL Kickoff game between the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots and the Pittsburgh Steelers.

“It’s exciting to try to follow up on what we had last year,” Rick Jackson, associate vice president of brand management for Nationwide, told brandchannel. “We want to stay true to what made it resonate with consumers in the first place, but bring something new and fresh.”

What the brand had last year was its catchy “Nationwide is on your side” jingle, which Manning repeated throughout his day in a TV spot. By the end, he was using the jingle’s melody to hum, “Chicken parm, you taste so good.” Mad parodies ensued, of course, further elevating the Nationwide ad in the public consciousness.

Nationwide Peyton Manning

“The original ‘Jingle’ ad was one of the highest performing television ads in the history of our brand,” Nationwide CMO Terrance Williams said in a press release. “It became so engrained in pop culture that people would speak to Peyton using the jingle when they would see him. We used those experiences to develop this new Jingle-themed advertising.”

This year, Nationwide is putting Manning in a number of new situations where the irresistible jingle comes into his head, and also gives glimpses of how others reacted to last year’s ad. So in one scene, he is lost in his SUV and his navigation device trills, “Recalculating shortest route” to the jingle tune. In another, the quarterback is in front of his locker with a likeness bobblehead doll, tapping its head and humming, “Do I really look like this?”

Nationwide will refresh the new jingle ad throughout the season. It also has added partnerships with new teams in six key market: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Chicago Bears, Cincinnati Bengals, Oakland Raiders and Pittsburgh Steelers. Team-specific digital ads such as the Raiders spot above will connect with the passion of the fans of those teams.

Overall, Rich Foster, vice president of marketing, told the Wall Street Journal, Nationwide’s NFL sponsorship last year was among its most successful ever, despite all the controversies surrounding the league. brandchannel talked with Jackson about the new Nationwide campaign:

Nationwide Rick Jackson

brandchannel: What led you to re-up with Peyton Manning for this year’s NFL campaign?

Rick Jackson: He has led an extraordinary life. His father is a famous NFL quarterback, an icon in New Orleans, and Peyton has been in the public eye since he was a teenager. So really it’s been very far from normal. But when you talk to consumers, they say, “I love Peyton because he seems like a regular guy.” The average fan finds him incredibly relatable, which is a testament to how authentic he is. That’s what drew us to him and what we’re trying to capture in these spots.

bc: How did you move forward with the new ads?

Jackson: You’ll see a lot of what made them successful last year. The new things are based on some of Peyton’s real-life experiences. He talked about how in his daily life, teammates, other players, people on the street just come up to him and talk with him in the Nationwide jingle—as if that’s how he really thought and interacted. He wanted to capture some of that in the new ads.

bc: How are you expanding the efforts with other teams?

Jackson: Nationwide is a sponsor of the NFL, not just Peyton. So it’s really about extending the conversation throughout the entire NFL calendar to an expanded target. We entered into deals with the eight teams and developed jingle spots for those teams that capture some of the intricacies, superstitions or traditions of their fans as they get ready for the NFL season.

bc: What is the marketing objective behind the team-specific part of the campaign?

Jackson: The objective is to continue to build on what we saw happen in the first round, the most successful ad in the history of the brand. It’s based on what we saw happening in social media, where people were taking the Peyton jingle and customizing it to their lives and their teams. They wished they had a jingle spot for this person or that team.

bc: What are some of your favorite examples?

Jackson: In one, we’ve got a Steelers fan getting his season tickets in the mail in his customized team-themed mailbox. And there’s a great play on the famous “Da Bears” line and about how loving the Chicago Bears is a family affair.

Get more branding insights in our Q&A series

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